Claude Simon

BookClaude Simon

Claude Simon

A Retrospective


June 1st, 2002

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This collection of essays celebrates the work of the French Nobel prize-winning novelist Claude Simon. Scholars from France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom reconsider the fifty years of Simon’s fiction in the light of his large-scale autobiographical novel Le Jardin des Plantes (1997). From a variety of perspectives – postmodernist, psychoanalytic, aesthetic – contributors reflect on the central paradox of Simon’s work: his writing and rewriting of an experience of war so disruptive and traumatic that words can never be adequate to communicate it. The layers of artifice in Le Jardin des Plantes and the nature of Simon’s aesthetic are analysed in essays which explore intertextual resonances between Simon and Proust, Flaubert, Borges and Poussin. A complementary view of Simon’s Photographies 1937–1970 shows that it too can be seen as form of indirect autobiography.

Author Information

Jean Duffy is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Edinburgh.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Message from Claude Simon to the Participants at the Conference held in May 19997
Introduction: The Critical Reception of Claude Simon since the 1960s9
1: Thinking History Otherwise: Fiction and the Sites of Memory in Claude Simon30
2: (In)Commensurabilities: The Childhood of Events and the Shock of Encounter in Claude Simon47
3: Instant Replays: The Reintegration of Traumatic Experience in Le Jardin des Plantes69
4: The Dynamics of Conflict in the Novels of Claude Simon85
5: Satire, Burlesque and Comedy in Claude Simon108
6: The Garden of Forking Paths: Intertextuality and Le Jardin des Plantes126
7: A partir du Jardin des Plantes: Claude Simon’s Recapitulations143
8: Supplementary Organs: Media and Machinery in the Late Novels of Claude Simon160
9: One Step Further: Claude Simon’s Photographies 1937-1970176
10: Truth, Verbiage and Ecriture in Le Jardin des Plantes191
Notes on Contributors239